State Rep. Scott Martin has been appointed chairman of the powerful Appropriations and Budget Committee for the 54th Legislature.
Incoming Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon tapped Martin, R-Norman, on Monday during his first round of appointments to key leadership posts, according to a news release from Shannon's office.
Martin currently serves as the vice-chair of the Appropriations and Budget Committee.
“Chairing the Budget Committee is probably one of the toughest jobs in the House, but I’m up to the task,” Martin in the news release. “You don’t make a lot of friends when you have to tell people ‘no’, but taking care of our tax dollars means we have to say ‘no’ to a lot of spending items.
“Considering all the uncertainty we are seeing with the federal budget, this could prove to be a difficult year for our budget here in Oklahoma,” he said. “I’m honored to have this position, and I will work hard every day to watch over our tax dollars.”
Martin’s appointment was felt in Norman where Chamber of Commerce President and CEO John Woods offered his congratulations.
“I want to congratulate Chairman Martin on his selection as Chair of Appropriations and Budget,” Woods said on the chamber’s website. “The AB committee handles all budgetary issues for the legislature and Chairman Martin will be in a unique and powerful position to impact the funding priorities of the legislature in the coming years.
“As the third largest city in Oklahoma, the voice of Norman is rightly amplified by the selection of Representative Martin,” Woods said on the website. “Norman hasn’t had representation at this level in the budgetary process since former State Representative Bill Nations held the position.
“I believe Martin will be a worthy advocate for all Oklahoma taxpayers and for the equality of Norman when it comes to distribution and allocation of state resources,” Woods said. “On behalf of all Norman residents, I congratulate Chairman Martin and appreciate Speaker-Elect Shannon on his thoughtful selection.”
Shannon chose to fill the posts with a diverse cross-section of the majority Republican Caucus, according to the statehouse news release.
“I have worked with these members for years as I served in the legislature, and now it is my honor to serve with them as leaders of this great body,” Shannon, R-Lawton, said in the release. “Each of them brings different talents, experiences and perspectives to our leadership team, and they will serve our colleagues well in their new positions.”
Shannon chose Rep. Fred Jordan, R-Tulsa, and Rep. Dennis Johnson, R-Duncan, as Majority Leaders to help lead the House.
Jordan, an attorney and businessman from Tulsa, and Johnson, a small business owner from Duncan, will help steer the House agenda both within the House of Representatives and with other branches of government.
To serve as the next Majority Floor Leader, Shannon chose veteran legislator Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa. Peterson is a former Majority Whip and senior member of the House.
To serve as the next Majority Whip, Shannon chose Rep. Todd Thomsen, R-Ada. Thomsen serves as a coordinator for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Shannon said he will be announcing other leadership positions in the coming weeks, including the list of committee chairmen and vice-chairmen.
“We haven’t finalized every position yet, but I feel very confident we have a strong and talented group of leaders from throughout the Caucus,” Shannon said. “Things feel really good right now. Our Caucus is energized and unified, and I am very optimistic about what we can accomplish this session.”